Complaints About Samsung SmartTVs. Our firm is reviewing complaints on behalf of consumers who have purchased Samsung SmartTVs and who have either had voice data collected from their TVs without their knowledge or who have been subject to unwanted advertisements when accessing smart TV apps.
Spygate: Samsung SmartTVs Collect Voice Data for Text Conversion by Third Party Over the Internet
Samsung made news again when it was discovered that a number of Samsung SmartTV models are now equipped with a voice recognition feature. This feature enables users to talk to their smart TVs by use of verbal commands. This means that the Samsung’s SmartTV is listening to consumers’ voices; the technology is operational all the time.
When the voice recognition is turned on, a microphone appears on the screen to advise customers that their voices are being captured. Consumers may opt out of this feature, according to Samsung; however, even if a consumer opts out, his/her voice commands are still captured because Samsung’s SmartTV was built with a set of a pre-programmed commands that recognize voice regardless of the status of the voice recognition feature. This ensures Samsung may collect the text of pre-programmed voice commands.
CNN noted that Samsung uses the captured data for analysis of customer use of using specific commands. “Samsung does not retain voice data or sell it to third parties,” the company indicated in a statement. “If a consumer consents and uses the voice recognition feature … the voice data is sent to a server, which searches for the requested content then returns the desired content to the TV.” It appears that, regardless of consumers’ preferences or options chosen, some type of consumer data is being transmitted across the Internet.
The issue affects Samsung SmartTV models that recognize voice and are manufactured with a built-in camera and microphone, according to CNET. The TV begins processing when a user issues a voice command. One example is the Samsung PN60F8500.
Samsung Smart TVs Loaded with Advertisements
In another report by CNET, Samsung has apparently placed advertisements within some Smart TV apps. For example, the Plex app, which enables consumers to stream movies and music stored on their computers to their TVS. Plex has indicated that it was not involved in what CNET described as “rogue” advertising; Samsung described the matter as an internal error.